Indian Ink – Bristol Beer Factory 6.5%

I stumbled upon this beer by accident really after reading a post on Zac Avery‘s website “Are You Tasting The Pith“.

Zac’s review of BBFs “New World Tripel” sounded wonderful, so I paid a visit to the Bristol Beer Factory’s online shop, saw that they offer a mixed case that included the New World Tripel at a very reasonable price and placed an order.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed as the main beer that had driven me to order was not in the case when it arrived, in fact I very nearly got on the blower to complain. Then I noticed that there were a few intriguing bottles in the box as replacement and thought ah well, what the hell, in for a penny…

One beer in particular caught my eye, a big old Black IPA (which I love anyway) called Indian Ink. Interestingly it was brewed as the winning entry of a home brewing competition run or at least sponsored by BBF, won by a brewer called Ali Kocho-Williams. The prize was to go to the brewery, brew the beer to the winning recipe which would then be served in the local pubs and bottled for distribution. Oh and Ali won 9 gallons to drink too!! 😉

The recipe it seems, is based on Kernel Brewery’s own Black IPA, you can read it here.

It’s a good beer, quite strong at 6.5% abv but is extremely refreshing and deceptively drinkable disguising the alcohol extremely well.

Not much on the nose, mainly a peppery hop spice. Flavours though are of intense liquorice espresso, high cocoa content bitter dark chocolate. There’s orange pith and citrus flesh too, finishing long, dry and very peppery.

How does it compare to the original Kernel version is hard to tell without tasting side by side. From memory I recall the Kernel having much more in the way of fruity aroma and flavour, but there’s no shame in that as Indian Ink is it’s own beer and works really well. Would I buy another, most definitely.

Nice one Ali

Follow Ali in Twitter here: @alikocho

 

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Back to back Belgians

I come to thinking the other day that I’d become distracted from my Belgian Beer Challenge. Not that I’ve gone short or been abstaining from a drop of the beery stuff, far from it in fact with some fabulous American and Danish beers in London, also a fine array from Kernel and Bristol Beer Factory amongst various others.

All have been great beers but I need to keep on top of the task and decided it was time to start exploring some of the goodies I sourced on the recent trip to Bruges.

The first beer of the night and beer challenge number 55 was Taras Boulba at 4.5%. Which is described as being an “Extra Hoppy Ale” brewed by Brasserie De La Senne. The brewery website also list this as being a blonde but the appearance in my glass at least made it look more like a wheat beer.

Mine poured a murky cloudy yellow with visible sediment freely floating around the glass. As I’d not had one before I can’t be sure whether that was just poor delivery by myself (I thought I’d poured it carefully) or whether that’s just the way it is, either way the appearance did not seem to affect it’s taste.

There’s not a great deal going on aroma wise here, maybe a little yeast and perhaps biscuit. Taste too at first was a little disappointing with it’s “Extra Hoppy” billing certainly sounding a little over optimistic in the current climate of uber hopped beer. Nevertheless it was still a very tasty refreshing brew, with more digestive biscuit and lemony citrus coming across nicely. The finish is very dry and bitter, maybe those extra hops are creeping in after all. It’s a good beer, I can imagine me drinking this on warmer days especially, just watch how you pour it..

For the more inquisitive amongst you who are wondering where the name Taras Boulba comes from or what it means, there is a description from the brewery that features on the Shenton Brothers webpage.

Next up was Bink Blonde from the Kerkom Brewery at 5.5% and beer number 56.

This one is definitely more like a blonde in appearance pouring a slightly hazy but bright yellow, complimented by a thick foamy white head with lovely citrus peel aromas.

Taste is quite full in the mouth, soft mellow malts with lemon, candied dried fruits and peel. The finish is dry and hoppy again but really smooth and without any hint of harshness in the throat.

Another great beer and worth putting on your “to Try” list.

The final beer for tasting tonight took me back to the beers of Brasserie De La Senne with their oddly named (see Shenton link again) Zinnebir, this took the challenge beers to a healthy 57 since Christmas. It’s another blonde ale coming in at 5.5%.

This one pours quite a deep shade of hazy orange topped off again with a thick white foam. It has quite a malty nose with hints of orange peel.

The taste is quite rich for a blonde beer, soft toffee with Seville orange marmalade mingling in the background. It has a real full on juicy mouthfeel that punches generously well above it’s weight.

Zinnebir is a delicious fruity ale and was most definitely the pick of the bunch on the night.

So there we have it, 57 beers done since Christmas is not bad going. I’ve got several more to go at so need to plan ahead, after all its my 60th soon…

P.S You may have noticed that I’ve made a few changes to the blog pages appearance, what do you think, easier on the eye, easy to navigate or better how it was??

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